RLI Safeguarding Policy
RLI Safeguarding Policy
RLI, part of the Wolfestone Group, believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to practice which protects them.
We recognise that:
- the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
- all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief,
- sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
- working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
RLI, part of the Wolfestone Group, is committed to ensuring that vulnerable people who use our services are not abused and that working practices minimise the risk of such abuse.
Safeguarding is about embedding practices throughout the organisation to ensure the protection of children and / or vulnerable adults wherever possible. In contrast, child and adult protection is about responding to circumstances that arise.
Abuse is a selfish act of oppression and injustice, exploitation and manipulation of power by those in a position of authority. This can be caused by those inflicting harm or those who fail to act to prevent harm. Abuse is not restricted to any socioeconomic group, gender or culture.
It can take a number of forms, including the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial (or material) abuse
Definition of a child
A child is under the age of 18 (as defined in the United Nations convention on the Rights of a Child).
Definition of Vulnerable Adults
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. This may include a person who:
- Is elderly and frail
- Has a mental illness including dementia
- Has a physical or sensory disability
- Has a learning disability
- Has a severe physical illness
- Is a substance misuser
- Is homeless
Scope of the Policy
This policy applies to all staff (paid or unpaid) of RLI, as well as agents or contractors working on behalf as RLI, such as sales agents, translators, voiceover artists or interpreters. All of the above are expected to follow the guidance laid out in this policy and related policies, and to pass on any welfare concerns using the required procedures. We expect all staff (paid or unpaid), agents and contractors to promote good practice by being an excellent role model, contribute to discussions about safeguarding and to positively involve people in developing safe practices.
The scope of this Safeguarding Policy is broad ranging and in practice, it will be implemented via a range of policies and procedures within the organisation. These include:
- Whistleblowing policy
- Grievance and disciplinary procedures
- Equal opportunities policy
Aims of the Policy
This policy seeks to ensure that RLI undertakes its responsibilities with regard to protection of children and / or vulnerable adults and will respond to concerns appropriately. The policy establishes a framework to support paid and unpaid staff, agents and contractors in their practices and clarifies the organisation’s expectations.
The following are responsibilities of RLI, its staff, agents or contractors working on behalf as RLI, such as sales agents, translators, voiceover artists or interpreters:
- familiarising themselves with our safeguarding policy
- taking appropriate action in line with our policy
- recruiting staff, agents and contractors safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- sharing information about child protection and good practice with staff, agents and contractors
- sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
Conducting DBS Checks
During the recruitment of an individual RLI will evaluate the needs of the particular role and decide whether it will involve a regulated activity. The degree of DBS Check required for the individual will be decided on the requirement of the role, the applicant may be require to undertake the following DBS checks;
Standard Check – this will check for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings.
Enhanced– this include the same checks as the standard but will also include any additional information held by local police that’s reasonably considered relevant to the workforce being applied for.
Enhanced with Barred List Check– this is the same check as the enhanced but will include the DBS barred list, this will only be required for specific roles involving regulated activity.
All staff, agents and contractors should adhere to guidelines and respond appropriately to concerns, allegations or disclosures of abuse and harm. Everyone involved with RLI has a duty to share information about concerns. It is not the responsibility of any one person to identify or investigate, but they do have a duty to report concerns.
Support for those who report abuse
All those making a complaint or allegation or expressing concern, whether they are staff, agents or contractors should be reassured that:
- They will be taken seriously
- Their comments will usually be treated confidentially, but their concerns may be shared with the appropriate authorities if they or others are at significant risk
What might constitute a concern about a child or vulnerable adult?
A concern relates to the possibility of a child or vulnerable adult suffering harm. This list is not exhausted but some examples might include:
- Sudden, unexplained or worrying changes in behaviour.
- Physical signs or symptoms that may be indicative of abuse (emotional, sexual, physical or neglect).
- Worrying remarks made by a child or vulnerable adult.
- A situation where a child or vulnerable adults is exposed to potential risk or harm.
ALL concerns should be recorded and passed to a member of the RLI team within 24 hours whether they relate to situations internal or external to RLI. The Designated Officer will then inform the DBS of the concern and provide the necessary evidence.
What is a disclosure?
A disclosure is when a child or vulnerable adult tells a staff member agent or contractor that they have been or are being harmed or abused in some way. This may be physical, sexual, emotional abuse, neglect or bullying. It is important to reassure the person who has made the disclosure and offer appropriate support. ALL disclosures must be reported to the Designated Officer within 24 hours. The reporting procedure will be outlined to all members of staff, agents and contractors during inductions for staff and agents and at the start of a project for contractors to ensure they are familiar with it.
Concern / allegation about the behaviour of staff/volunteer?
Inappropriate or unacceptable behaviour or communication, favouritism or negligence is an example of what may constitute a concern about the conduct of a member of staff, agent or contractor. An allegation about a staff, agents or contractor occurs when a child, parent, client or other staff member, agent or contractor reports unacceptable behaviour where a child or vulnerable adult has been harmed, put at risk of harm or abused in some way. ALL allegations against staff/volunteers must be referred to the Designated Officer within 24 hours. In the case of allegations against the Designated Officer, this should be reported to a Director.
ALL concerns, disclosures and allegations should be recorded and passed to the Designated Officer within 24 hours.
The Designated Officer will refer the concern to the DBS through the DBS Referral Form, along with the supporting evidence and documents.
If there is any doubt the designated officer will consult with the designated officer in the local HSC Trust, Police and Social Services.
The process outlined below details the stages involved in raising and reporting safeguarding concerns at RLI.
What to do if you suspect child abuse/inappropriate behaviour
- Agents/contractors and staff should communicate concerns with the Designated Officer
- Remain calm at all times, ensure the safety of child/vulnerable adult, where possible, maintain surveillance of suspect
- Designated Officer will record all information, actions and observations, including dates, times, locations, and witness names.
- Designated Officer will raise the concern with the DBS
If the Designated Officer is implicated, then refer to a Director.
What to do if there is an allegation of abuse against staff, agents or contractors
- Inform the Designated Officer
- Designated Officer will take protective measure e.g. suspension or alternative duties
- Designated Officer will conduct investigation in line with disciplinary procedure
- If allegation is substantiated this may result in dismissal and relevant statutory authorities may be informed
Code of behaviour for staff/ agents contractors
All staff, agents and contractors should not:
- Spend periods of time alone with children/vulnerable adults
- Make physical contact with children/vulnerable adults
- Shout/humiliate/patronise or threaten children/vulnerable adults
- Give personal contact details to children/vulnerable adults
Failure to comply with the code of behaviour will result in disciplinary action (staff) and sanctions (agents and contractors).
RLI’s duty to refer to the disclosure and barring service
RLI has a duty to refer to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) any individual who has harmed a child/ vulnerable adults or placed a child/ vulnerable adult at risk of harm, or where the harm test is satisfied, and where the organisation has permanently removed the worker from regulated activity. The DBS will then consider the individual for inclusion in either the Children’s Barred List and / or the Adults Barred List.
A breach of procedures and guidelines will be taken seriously and any breach of this policy and guidelines may result in disciplinary action in line with the Disciplinary Procedure. If there is an allegation of gross misconduct, the employee will be suspended from work, usually on full pay. Two independent investigating officers appointed by the relevant Director will conduct a formal investigation. They will report on their findings to the relevant Director. In accordance with the RLI’s Disciplinary Procedure and the outcome of the formal investigations:
- Dismissal may occur;
- The DBS may be informed;
- The Police and Social Services may be informed.
Any breach should be reported to the Designated Officer without delay. Record Keeping
All information held by RLI is gathered, stored and shared in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.
Review of the Policy
RLI is committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.
Designated Safeguarding Contacts
Designated Safeguarding Officer: Ross Kirby
Designated Safeguarding Deputy: Helen Courtney-Hinsch
Last updated: 16/12/2022
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